Mark Messier joins ESPN for NHL coverage
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Messier joins ESPN for NHL coverage

ESPN lost all-time hockey great Wayne Gretzky to Turner Sports as it prepares for the return of the NHL to its networks, but the Worldwide Leader has landed a living legend of its own. 

ESPN announced Thursday afternoon that six-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier is joining the company as an NHL studio analyst. 

"The game of hockey, and the NHL, have afforded me enormous opportunity, success and experiences on the ice and in my life," the Hall of Famer said for a prepared statement. "My passion for the game is as strong as it has ever been and I am looking forward to sharing that passion, plus my insights and analysis with the sport's incredible fans. The NHL is beginning a new era with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company -- with an exciting, evolving game and phenomenally talented players -- and I am thrilled to be a part of the team." 

Both ESPN and Turner signed seven-year deals with the NHL earlier this year via moves that will see the league leave NBC and NBC Sports for the first time since the 2005-06 season. It's believed Turner intends to air games on both TBS and TNT. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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